THE BATTLEFORDS - At the outset of the final week of September, unity, togetherness and reconciliation came to the fore as the Star Children flag was raised both in Battleford and North Battleford — marking the beginning of events up until Sept. 30 to honour National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
"I am a survivor of residential schools," Jenny Spyglass, FSIN senator told the crowd gathered outside North Battleford City Hall on Sept. 25 before the flag was raised to the sound of drumbeats.
"I was taken away when I was just a baby. I didn't know how it is to have a mom and parents. And I like to say that our little ones are very important ... you are very important," she added, acknowledging the students present.
Hundreds gathered, including several school classes, to watch as Mayor David Gillan read a proclamation declaring Sept. 25 to 30 a week devoted to honouring the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
"I'm particularly happy to see all the young children that are here, the great turnout in our community, as we celebrate our Indigenous culture in our city and the Battlefords in general."
The mayor went on to encourage everyone to participate in events during the week, ranging from the free showing of Floyd Favel's documentary Ashes and Embers on Sept. 28, at 4 p.m., in the North Battleford Public Library or the firework show on Sept. 29 at 10 p.m. on King Hill,.
The week's events will culminate on Sept. 30 with a public feast at noon at Atoskewin Success Centre followed by a round dance from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Chief Sylvia Weenie, who spoke in both North Battleford and Battleford, said at the afternoon flag raising in Battleford, "This is a very, very special day for our people, for the survivors," Chief Weenie said, adding that action on both sides, will see reconciliation come to fruition here in the Battlefords, Saskatchewan, and Canada.
"We have to go back and really know about the truth, we can't be scared to revisit the history."
Mayor Ames Leslie, Senator Jenny Spyglass and Floyd Favel spoke at the flag-raising in Battleford, again all three acknowledged the hundreds of students present who will one day be the future of the Battlefords.